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  • California District Court Grants With Prejudice Motion To Dismiss Securities Fraud Class Action Against Video Game Company, Finding Plaintiffs Failed To Plead Falsity And Scienter
     
    02/03/2023

    On January 22, 2023, Judge Percy Anderson of the United States District Court for the Central District of California granted a motion to dismiss the third amended class action complaint (“TAC”) in a putative class action alleging that a video game company (the “Company”) and four of its officers misled investors by making material misstatements and omissions concerning sexual harassment and discrimination at the Company.  Cheng v. Activision Blizzard Inc. et al., 2:21-cv-06240 (C.D. Cal. Jan. 22, 2023).  Plaintiffs alleged that defendants violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”), and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder.  The Court dismissed plaintiffs’ TAC with prejudice, finding plaintiffs failed to plead falsity and scienter.
  • Southern District Of New York Grants Summary Judgment To Pharmaceutical Company In Investor Class Action
     
    12/20/2022

    On December 12, 2022, Judge Colleen McMahon of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York granted summary judgment to a major pharmaceutical company (the “Company”) and dismissed class action claims that the Company failed to disclose a “serious and known link” between the Company’s breast implant products and a rare form of cancer, breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL), in violation of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. In re Allergan PLC Securities Litigation, 2022 WL 17584155 (S.D.N.Y. 2022).  The Court held that the challenged statements were “literally true and not misleading” and that plaintiff failed to prove after extensive discovery that either scientific studies or the regulatory community had determined that the Company’s implants were in fact more closely associated with BIA-ALCL than other types of implants. Because discovery did not uncover any evidence of falsity and plaintiff failed to raise a genuine issue of fact with respect to the materiality of the alleged misrepresentations or as to loss causation, the Court granted the Company’s motion for summary judgment.
  • First Circuit Affirms Denial Of Motion To Dismiss Securities Fraud Class Action, Finding Plaintiffs Failed To Allege Any Actionable False Statements Or Misleading Omissions By Healthcare Company In Connection With Its Merger
     
    08/23/2022

    On August 18, 2022, a unanimous panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit affirmed a decision by the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island granting a motion to dismiss a putative securities fraud class action asserting claims under Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act (the “Exchange Act”), Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder, and Section 20(a) of the Exchange against a health care and pharmaceutical company (the “Company”) and two of its senior executives. City of Miami Fire Fighters’ and Police Officers’ Retirement Trust, et. al. v. CVS Health Corporation, No. 21-1479 (1st Cir. Aug 18, 2022). Plaintiffs alleged that, following the Company’s 2015 acquisition of another health care company (the “Merger”), the Company’s executives issued false statements and misleading omissions about various post-Merger issues. In affirming dismissal of the amended complaint, the First Circuit held that the district court’s assessment was “right on the mark” and that “[p]laintiffs failed to allege that defendants made statements of fact that were false when made or misleadingly incomplete in light of the contemporaneous circumstances.”
  • First Circuit Affirms Denial Of Motion To Dismiss Securities Fraud Class Action, Finding Plaintiffs Failed To Allege Any Actionable False Statements Or Misleading Omissions By Healthcare Company In Connection With Its Merger
     
    08/23/2022

    On August 18, 2022, a unanimous panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit affirmed a decision by the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island granting a motion to dismiss a putative securities fraud class action asserting claims under Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act (the “Exchange Act”), Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder, and Section 20(a) of the Exchange against a health care and pharmaceutical company (the “Company”) and two of its senior executives.  City of Miami Fire Fighters’ and Police Officers’ Retirement Trust, et. al. v. CVS Health Corporation, No. 21-1479 (1st Cir. Aug 18, 2022).  Plaintiffs alleged that, following the Company’s 2015 acquisition of another health care company (the “Merger”), the Company’s executives issued false statements and misleading omissions about various post-Merger issues.  In affirming dismissal of the amended complaint, the First Circuit held that the district court’s assessment was “right on the mark” and that “[p]laintiffs failed to allege that defendants made statements of fact that were false when made or misleadingly incomplete in light of the contemporaneous circumstances.”
  • Northern District Of California Dismisses Putative Class Action Suit Against Financial Technology Company That Underscores The Challenges Plaintiffs Face When Predicating Securities Claims On The Disclosure Of A Regulatory Investigation
     
    08/16/2022

    On August 8, 2022, Judge Charles R. Breyer of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California granted a motion to dismiss a proposed securities class action suit against a financial technology company (the “Company”) and four of its executives alleging violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  Huei-Ting Kang v. PayPal Holdings Inc., No. 3:21-cv-06468 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 8, 2022).  Plaintiffs alleged that the Company misled investors about its compliance with (1) a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) Consent Order (the “Consent Order”) prohibiting deceptive marketing of the company’s revolving line of credit; and (2) the Federal Reserve Board’s Regulation II, which caps debit card interchange fees.  The Court’s dismissal of the complaint (with leave to amend) is a reminder of the challenges plaintiffs face when trying to assert securities claims in the wake of company announcements of regulatory investigations.
  • Northern District Of California Largely Denies Motion To Dismiss Securities Fraud Class Action Against Biopharmaceutical Company
     
    07/28/2022

    On July 15, 2022, Judge Edward M. Chen of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California largely denied a motion to dismiss a securities fraud class action against a biopharmaceutical company (the “Company”) and certain of its officers alleging violations of Sections 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  In re FibroGen, Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 21-cv-02623-EMC (N.D. Cal. July 15, 2022).  Plaintiffs alleged that the Company made 96 false and misleading statements concerning the “safety and efficacy data of its flagship drug.”  Although the Court held that a handful of the misstatements were not actionable for failure to adequately allege falsity, the Court otherwise denied the motion to dismiss.
    CATEGORIES : Exchange ActFalsityPSLRAScienter
  • Central District Of California Dismisses With Prejudice Suit Against Children’s Cartoon Company And Finds That The Complaint Violated Rule 8 Of The Federal Rules Of Civil Procedure
     
    07/28/2022

    On July 15, 2022, the United States District Court for the Central District of California granted a motion to dismiss a putative class action against a children’s cartoon company (the “Company”) and certain of its officers alleging violations of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  In Re Genius Brands Int’l, Inc. Sec. Litig., CV 20-7457 DSF (RAOx) (C.D. Cal. July 15, 2022).  In a second amended complaint, plaintiffs alleged that the Company made materially false and misleading statements and omissions about the Company’s engagement of a stock promotion company, an impending acquisition by Disney or Netflix, and its economic resilience in the face of COVID-19, among other topics.  The Court dismissed the claims with prejudice for failure to adequately plead falsity or materiality, and further held that the complaint of 289 paragraphs and 84 pages violated Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure that requires a “short and plain statement” of the claims.
  • Northern District Of California Grants Motion To Dismiss Securities And Exchange Act Claims Against Mobile Gaming Technology Company Holding That Plaintiffs Did Not Adequately Plead Falsity, Scienter, Loss Causation, Or Material Misstatements Or Omissions
     
    07/12/2022

    On July 5, 2022, Chief Judge Richard Seeborg of the Northern District of California granted motions to dismiss a putative securities class action asserting claims under Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”), Rule 10b-5 thereunder, Section 20(a) of the Exchange Act, and Sections 11, 12(a)(2) and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933 (“Securities Act”), against a mobile gaming technology company (the “Company”), certain of its officers and directors, and its underwriters.  Jedrzejczyk, et al. v. Skillz Inc., et al., No. 21-cv-03450-RS (N.D. Cal. July 5, 2022).  Plaintiffs alleged that defendants made material misstatements and omissions regarding the Company’s financial condition, technical capabilities, and business prospects.  The Court granted defendants’ motions to dismiss, holding that plaintiffs failed to adequately plead falsity, scienter, or loss causation as to the Exchange Act claims, and that plaintiffs had not established standing or adequately pled material untrue statements or omissions as to the Securities Act claims.
  • Ninth Circuit Affirms Decision Dismissing Securities Class Action Against Medical Device Manufacturer For Failure To Allege An Actionable False Or Misleading Statement
     
    07/12/2022

    On July 7, 2022, a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s dismissal of a putative securities fraud class action against a medical device manufacturer company (the “Company”) and certain of its executives.  Macomb County Employees’ Retirement System et al. v. Align Technology Inc. et al., No. 21-15823 (9th Cir. July 7, 2022).  Plaintiff alleged that defendants violated Sections 10(b), 20(a), and 20A of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”), and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder, by misrepresenting the Company’s prospects about its future success in China.  The Court affirmed the district court’s order granting defendants’ motion to dismiss, holding that six of the challenged statements were non-actionable “puffery,” and the remaining six statements did not misrepresent the Company’s growth in China.
  • Ninth Circuit Affirms Dismissal Of Complaint Against Pharmaceutical Company For Failure To Allege Falsity And Loss Causation
     
    05/24/2022

    On May 19, 2022, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed a district court’s dismissal of a putative class action against a pharmaceutical company (the “Company”) asserting claims under Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  In re Nektar Therapeutics Inc. Sec. Litig., No. 21-15170 (9th Cir. May 19, 2022).  Plaintiffs alleged that the Company misled investors about the results of its preliminary trial of the Company’s flagship drug when it presented the information without disclosing that outlier data was included in the average.  In December 2020, the Northern District of California dismissed the complaint for failure to plead falsity, scienter, or loss causation, which we covered here.  The Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal, holding that plaintiffs failed to sufficiently explain how the inclusion of the outlier data misled investors, or how the announcement of subsequent trial results caused a loss.
  • Fourth Circuit Affirms Dismissal Of Putative Class Action Against Hotel Chain
     
    05/04/2022

    On April 21, 2022 the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit unanimously affirmed a district Court’s dismissal of a putative class action against a major hotel chain (the “Company”) for violations of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Securities and Exchange Commission Rule 10b-5.  In re Marriott Int’l, Inc., No. 21-1802 (4th Cir. Apr. 21, 2022).  Plaintiff alleged that the Company failed to disclose data vulnerabilities of a rival hotel company that it acquired in 2016, which rendered the Company’s subsequent public statements regarding its cybersecurity systems and the importance of protecting customer data false or misleading.  Agreeing with the district court that none of the Company’s statements were false or misleading when made, the Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court’s dismissal.
    CATEGORY : Falsity
  • Ninth Circuit Affirms Decision Dismissing Investor Class Action Against Social Media Company Because The Company’s Statements Were Not False Or Materially Misleading
     
    04/05/2022

    On March 23, 2022, Judge Kenneth K. Lee of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the United States District Court for the Northern District of California’s dismissal of claims brought under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act (the “Exchange Act”) and Rule 10b-5 thereunder against a social media company (the “Company”) and certain of its executive officers.  Weston Family Partnership LLLP et al. v. Twitter Inc. et al., No. 20-17465 (9th Cir. Mar. 23, 2022).  Plaintiffs alleged that the Company failed to disclose the scope of software issues that led to a loss in advertising revenue, which ultimately caused the Company’s share price to drop.  The Court affirmed the district court’s order granting defendants’ motion to dismiss, holding that plaintiffs failed to state a claim because the Company’s statements were not false or materially misleading.  The Court stated that “[s]ecurities laws . . . do not require real-time business updates or complete disclosure of all material information whenever a company speaks on a particular topic.  To the contrary, a company can speak selectively about its business so long as its statements do not paint a misleading picture.  [The Company]’s statements about its advertising program were not false or misleading because they were qualified and factually true.  The Company had no duty to disclose any more than it did under federal securities law.”
  • Northern District Of California Denies Motion To Dismiss Exchange Act Claims Against Electric Vehicle Battery Development Company, Holding Plaintiff Adequately Pleaded Misleading Statements, Scienter, And Loss Causation
     
    01/25/2022

    On January 14, 2022, Judge William H. Orrick of the Northern District of California denied a motion to dismiss a putative securities class action asserting claims under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”) and Rule 10b-5, against a lithium battery development company (the “Company”) and certain of its executives (collectively, “defendants”).  In re Quantumscape Securities Class Action Litigation, No. 3:21-cv-00058-WHO (N.D. Cal. Jan. 14, 2022).  The Company’s “solid-state” battery is an aspiring competitor to conventional lithium-ion batteries for use in electric vehicles.  The Court denied defendants’ motion to dismiss, holding that the Complaint was adequately plead with the exception of one of the challenged statements that it dismissed.
  • Central District Of California Denies In Substantial Part Motion To Dismiss Putative Class Action Suit Against Electric Vehicle Manufacturer
     
    12/21/2021

    On December 2, 2021, Judge Cormac J. Carney of the United Stated District Court for the Central District of California denied, in substantial part, a motion to dismiss a putative securities class action against an electric truck manufacturer (the “Company”) for allegedly misleading investors by overhyping its production capabilities and its prospects for winning a multibillion-dollar contract to revamp the U.S. Postal Service’s (“USPS”) delivery fleet in violation of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  Farrar v. Workhorse Grp., Inc., No. 2:21-cv-02072 (C.D. Cal. Dec. 2, 2021).   Plaintiff alleged the Company made false and misleading statements in 2020 and early 2021 about the viability of the Company’s bid for the USPS contract and the Company’s “backlog” of customer orders.  Plaintiff also alleged the Company made misrepresentations regarding its use of Payroll Protection Program (“PPP”) funds provided by the federal government during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Court denied the Company’s motion to dismiss on all but the PPP claims.
    CATEGORIES : Exchange ActFalsity
  • Northern District Of Illinois Eastern Division Grants In Part Drugstore Chain’s Motion For Summary Judgment In Connection With Securities Class Action Lawsuit
     
    11/09/2021

    On November 2, 2021, Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman of the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division granted in part defendants’ motion for summary judgment and denied plaintiff’s partial motion for summary judgment in a securities class action asserting claims under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”) against a retail drugstore chain (the “Company”) and two of its former senior executives.  Washtenaw County Employees' Retirement System v. Walgreen Co. et al., No. 15-cv-03187 (N.D. Ill. Nov. 2, 2021).  Plaintiff alleged defendants made materially false and misleading statements concerning the Company’s earnings before interest and taxes (“EBIT”) projections and its ability to meet it.  The Court granted in part defendants’ motion for summary judgment, holding that one of the alleged misstatements was a non-actionable forward-looking statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act’s (“PSLRA”) safe harbor, that defendants proved the truth of certain alleged misstatements, but that triable issues of material fact remained with respect to a number of other alleged misstatements.  The Court denied plaintiff’s motion for partial summary judgment regarding one of the individual defendant’s intent to deceive, holding that there was a genuine issue of material fact as to the falsity of that defendant’s statements and is therefore a question for the jury.
  • District Of Minnesota Dismisses Putative Class Action Against Industrial Chemical Manufacturer Related To Environmental Litigation
     
    10/13/2021

    On September 30, 2021, Judge Nancy E. Brasel of the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota granted a motion to dismiss a putative class action against an industrial chemical manufacturer (the “Company”) and certain of its officers alleging violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5.  In re 3M Co. Sec. Litig., No. 19-CV-2488 (D. Minn. Sept. 30, 2021).  Plaintiffs alleged that the Company downplayed its potential legal and financial exposure over its production and disposal of toxic per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (“PFAS”) by failing to estimate the contingent losses associated with the Company’s PFAS liabilities.  The Court dismissed plaintiffs’ complaint for failure to plead an actionable misrepresentation or allegations sufficient to support a strong inference of scienter.
    CATEGORIES : Exchange ActFalsityScienter
  • District Of New Jersey Denies Motion For Judgment On The Pleadings Involving Securities Act Claims Against Accounting Firm, Holding Plaintiffs Are Not Required To Plead Damages As An Element Of A Section 11 Claim
     
    09/29/2021

    On September 21, 2021, Judge Michael A. Shipp of the District of New Jersey overruled an objection to a special master’s report and recommendation to deny a motion for judgment on the pleadings concerning claims under Section 11 of the Securities Act of 1933 (the “Securities Act”) against an accounting firm (the “Firm”).  In re Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl., Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 15-7658 (MAS) (LHG) (D. N.J. Sept. 21, 2021).  We previously covered the district court’s decision denying a motion to dismiss by other defendants in this action.  The Firm is the only defendant left in a purported class action lawsuit related to a pharmaceutical company’s public offering in 2015.  The Court agreed with the special master’s findings, among other things, that plaintiff was not required to plead damages for a Section 11 claim at the pleading stage.
  • Northern District Of California Dismisses Putative Class Action Against Cybersecurity Company Related To Its Merger For Failure To Allege Subjective Falsity
     
    09/21/2021

    On September 13, 2021, Judge Edward M. Chen of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed with prejudice a putative class action against a cybersecurity company (the “Company”) and its CEO for violations of Section 14(e) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  In re Finjan Holdings, Inc. Sec. Litig., No. 20-cv-04289 (N.D. Cal. Sep. 13, 2021).  Plaintiff alleged that defendants made material misrepresentations about the value of the Company in connection with the sale of the Company through a tender offer (the “Merger”) and that the CEO was motivated by his desire to retain his position at the Company.  The Court dismissed the claims, holding that (i) the sales process indicated that the offer price reflected the market value of the Company’s stock, and (ii) plaintiff failed to present particularized evidence that the CEO had a motive to mislead shareholders.
    CATEGORIES : Exchange ActFalsity
  • District Of New Jersey Dismisses Putative Class Action Against Medical Device Manufacturer For Failure To Allege Falsity And Scienter
     
    09/21/2021

    On September 15, 2021, Judge Stanley R. Chesler of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey dismissed a putative class action against a medical device manufacturer (the “Company”) and certain of its officers alleging violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  Industriens Pensionsforsikring A/S v. Becton Dickinson & Co., No. 20-cv-02155 (D.N.J. Sept. 15, 2021).  Plaintiff alleged the Company made misleading statements concerning regulatory approval of one of its medical devices, its regulatory compliance program, and financial projections.  The Court dismissed plaintiff’s claims without prejudice in an unpublished opinion confirming the many challenges to pleading securities fraud claims based on alleged misrepresentations regarding U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) approval processes.
    CATEGORIES : Exchange ActFalsityScienter
  • Second Circuit Affirms Dismissal Of Putative Class Action Against Danish Bank For Failure To Allege An Actionable Misrepresentation Or Scheme To Defraud
     
    08/31/2021

    On August 25, 2021, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit unanimously affirmed the dismissal of a putative class action against a Danish bank (the “Company”) and certain of its former officers and directors alleging violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5.  Plaintiffs alleged misstatements and omissions concerning the Company’s anti-money laundering (“AML”) controls and protocols.  Plumbers & Steamfitters Local v. Danske Bank, No. 20-3231 (2d Cir. Aug. 25, 2021).  The Second Circuit affirmed the dismissal for failure to allege an actionable misrepresentation or a scheme to defraud investors.
  • Seventh Circuit Affirms Dismissal Of Exchange Act Claims Against Commercial Electronics Company Holding Plaintiff Failed To Allege Scienter And Falsity
     
    08/19/2021

    On August 10, 2021, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed a decision of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division that dismissed a putative securities fraud class action asserting claims under Rule 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”) and Rule 10b-5 thereunder.  City of Taylor Police and Fire Retirement System v. Zebra Technologies Corp., et al, No. 20-3258 (7th Cir. Aug. 10, 2021).  Plaintiff alleged that defendants, a commercial electronics manufacturer (the “Company”) and two of its executives, misled investors by issuing false statements about the integration of assets following the Company’s acquisition of a separate commercial electronics company.  The district court dismissed the claims, holding that plaintiff failed to adequately allege scienter and falsity.  The Seventh Circuit affirmed the dismissal.
  • District Of Nevada Pares Down Class Action Against Resort And Casino Operator For Failure To Allege Falsity
     
    08/10/2021

    On July 28, 2021, Judge Andrew P. Gordon of the United States District Court for the District of Nevada granted in part and denied in part a motion to dismiss a putative securities class action against a resort and casino operator (the “Company”) and its current and former officers alleging violations of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”), Rule 10b-5, and Section 20(a) of the Exchange Act.  Ferris v. Wynn Resorts Ltd., No. 18-CV-00479 (D. Nev. July 28, 2021).  Plaintiffs alleged that the Company made material misstatements and omissions concerning allegations that its CEO engaged in sexual misconduct.  The Court denied the Company’s motion to dismiss plaintiffs’ claims relating to alleged misstatements made directly in response to a newspaper article and lawsuit concerning the CEO’s alleged misconduct, but granted the motion to dismiss with respect to the alleged misstatements that concerned the Company’s code of conduct, compliance with laws and regulations, and corporate culture.
    CATEGORIES : Exchange ActFalsityOmission
  • Southern District Of New York Grants Motion To Dismiss Securities Fraud Claims Against Clothing Company And Individual Defendants, Finding Plaintiffs Failed To Plead Material Misstatements And Scienter
     
    07/28/2021

    On July 19, 2021, Judge Vernon S. Broderick of the Southern District of New York granted a motion to dismiss claims alleging violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”) and Rule 10b-5 thereunder against a clothing company (the “Company”), its executives, and its majority shareholder.  Cheng v. Can. Goose Holdings Inc., No. 19-cv-08204 (S.D.N.Y. July 19, 2021).  Plaintiffs alleged defendants made materially false and misleading statements concerning the shifting timeframe of sales in its direct-to-consumer (“DTC”) channel (the “Timing Shift” allegations), and inventory growth rates.  The Court granted defendants’ motion to dismiss plaintiffs’ Consolidated First Amended Complaint (“CFAC”).
  • Ninth Circuit Affirms Motion To Dismiss Securities Fraud Claims Against Wholesale Retailer, Finding Plaintiffs Failed To Adequately Plead Scienter
     
    07/28/2021

    On July 20, 2021, a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit unanimously affirmed a decision of the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington dismissing with prejudice a putative class action lawsuit asserting claims under Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”) against a wholesale retailer (the “Company”) and certain of its executives, as well as Section 20(a) claims against those individual defendants.  Davoli, et al. v. Costco Wholesale Corp., et al., No. 20-35821 (9th Cir. July 20, 2021).  Plaintiff alleges that defendants made false statements regarding the strength of the Company’s internal controls over financial reporting.  The district court dismissed plaintiff’s Second Consolidated Amended Complaint (the “SAC”) for failure to adequately plead scienter and the Ninth Circuit affirmed.  The Panel’s unpublished opinion cannot be cited as precedent except as provided by Ninth Circuit rules.
  • District Of Maryland Denies Motion To Dismiss Securities Fraud Claims Against Sports Apparel Company, Finding Plaintiffs Adequately Pled Material Misstatements And Scienter In Light Of SEC Order In Parallel Proceeding
     
    05/26/2021

    On May 19, 2021, the United States District Court for the District of Maryland denied a motion to dismiss a putative securities class action involving claims brought under Sections 10(b), 20(a) and 20A of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”) against a sports apparel company (the “Company”) and one of its executives.  In re Under Armour Securities Litigation, No. 17-cv-00388 (D. Md. May 19, 2021).  Plaintiffs alleged that defendants misrepresented the Company’s financial health and the demand for its products by engaging in “channel stuffing”—the practice of pulling forward sales from a future quarter, thereby shifting earnings into earlier quarters—relying in part on a settlement between the Company and the SEC and the $9 million civil penalty paid in connection with the settlement to resolve similar allegations.
    CATEGORIES : Exchange ActFalsityPSLRAScienter
  • Ninth Circuit Holds Omnicare’s Standard For Falsity Of Opinion Applies To Claims Under Section 14(a) Of The Exchange Act
     
    04/28/2021

    On April 20, 2021, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a putative securities class action against an information technology security company (the “Company”), its chief executive officer, and Board of Directors (the “Directors”), alleging that a proxy statement issued in connection with a sale of the Company violated Sections 14(a) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”) and Rule 14a-9.  Golub v. Gigamon Inc., No. 19-16975 (9th Cir. Apr. 20, 2021).  In a unanimous decision, the Ninth Circuit, joining the Fourth Circuit (Paradise Wire & Cable Defined Benefit Pension Plan v. Weil, 918 F.3d 312 (4th Cir. 2019)), held that the standard articulated in Omnicare, Inc. v. Laborers District Council Construction Industry Pension Fund, 575 U.S. 175 (2015) governing whether a plaintiff has sufficiently alleged the falsity of a statement of opinion under Section 11 of the Securities Act of 1933 (the “Securities Act”), also applies to claims under Section 14(a) of the Exchange Act and Rule 14a-9, and affirmed the district court’s dismissal of the complaint for failure to allege falsity.  The Court further explained its application of the Omnicare standard to Section 14(a) in an accompanying summary opinion.
  • Southern District Of Texas Denies Motion To Dismiss Securities Fraud Claims, Finding Plaintiffs Adequately Pled Material Misrepresentations And Scienter
     
    04/13/2021

    On March 31, 2021, Judge Alfred H. Bennett of the Southern District of Texas denied a motion to dismiss claims under Section 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”) against a company that operates live adult entertainment businesses and bar-restaurants (the “Company”) and certain of its executives, as well as members of its audit, compensation, and nominating committees.  Hoffman, et al v. RCI Hospitality Holdings, Inc., et al, No. 4:19-cv-01841 (S.D. Tex. Mar. 31, 2021).  Plaintiffs alleged defendants made misleading statements or omissions concerning certain related-party transactions (RPTs), executive compensation, and other financial points in several of the Company’s Form 10-K annual reports.  The Court denied defendants’ motion to dismiss the amended complaint, holding that plaintiffs sufficiently pled material misstatements and scienter.
     
  • Central District Of California Denies Motion To Dismiss A Securities Fraud Complaint Against Medical Device Manufacturer Based On Statements Regarding Post-Acquisition Integration And Sales
     
    04/06/2021

    On March 29, 2021, Judge David O. Carter of the United States District Court for the Central District of California denied a motion to dismiss a consolidated putative class action complaint against a medical device manufacturer and marketer (the “Company”) and certain of its officers, alleging violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  In re Merit Med. Sys., Inc. Sec. Litig., No. 8:19-02326 DOC (ADSx) (C.D. Cal. Mar. 29, 2021).  Plaintiffs alleged that the Company issued misleading statements regarding its acquisitions of two companies in late 2018 including with respect to the integration of those companies and their products sales.  The Court denied defendants’ motion to dismiss, adopting a report and recommendation by Magistrate Judge Autumn D. Spaeth, which found that most of the challenged statements were not forward-looking statements protected by the PSLRA’s safe harbor provisions and that plaintiffs had adequately pled all elements of their claims. 
  • Southern District Of New York Dismisses A Putative Securities Class Action Against A Finnish Telecommunications Company For Failure To Plead Falsity
     
    04/06/2021

    On March 29, 2021, Judge Andrew L. Carter of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York granted a motion to dismiss a putative securities class action against a Finnish telecommunications company (the “Company”) and its former CEO for violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5.  In re Nokia Corp. Sec. Litig., No. 19-cv-3982 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 29, 2021).  Plaintiff alleged the Company made false and misleading statements and omissions regarding (i) the success of its post-merger integration with another telecommunications company (the “Acquired Company”); and (ii) the Company’s readiness to transition to 5G wireless cellular network technology (“5G”).  The Court dismissed the claims for failure to plead an actionable misstatement or omission.
    CATEGORIES : Exchange ActFalsity
  • Southern District Of New York Dismisses Putative Class Action Against Browser Services Company, Holding Plaintiffs Failed To Plead Material Misrepresentations And Scienter
     
    03/23/2021

    On March 13, 2021, Judge John G. Koeltl of the Southern District of New York granted a motion to dismiss claims brought under Sections 10b and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”) and Rule 10b5-1 promulgated thereunder, as well as Sections 11 and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933 (the “Securities Act”), against a Norwegian browser services company (the “Company”), its individual directors, and the underwriters of its initial public offering (the “IPO”). Lau v. Opera Limited et al., No. 1:2020-cv-00674 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 13, 2021).  Plaintiffs alleged that the Company’s IPO offering materials contained materially false and misleading statements and omissions, and defendants made false or misleading statements in other documents and analyst calls regarding the Company’s market share and entry into the “fintech” market.  The Court granted defendants’ motion to dismiss plaintiffs’ consolidated class action complaint (the “CCAC”), with leave to amend.
     
  • District Of Massachusetts Grants Motion To Dismiss Securities Fraud Claims Against Robot Vacuum Maker, Finding Its Disclosures Clean
     
    03/23/2021

    On March 12, 2021, Judge Denise Casper of the District of Massachusetts granted a motion to dismiss a claim under Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”) and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, as well as Section 20(a) of the Exchange Act, against a robot vacuum cleaner (“RVC”) manufacturer (the “Company”) and certain of its executives.  In re iRobot Corporation Securities Litigation, No. 19-cv-12536-DJC (D. Mass. Mar. 12, 2021). Plaintiffs alleged that defendants made materially false and misleading statements regarding the Company’s ability to compete within the RVC market.  The Court granted defendants’ motion to dismiss plaintiffs’ consolidated class action complaint (the “CAC”), holding that plaintiffs failed to sufficiently plead material misstatements and scienter.
     
  • Southern District Of New York Grants Motion To Dismiss Securities Fraud Claims Against Global Logistics And Shipping Company, Finding Plaintiffs Failed To Adequately Plead Material Misstatements And Scienter
     
    02/11/2021

    On February 4, 2021, Judge Ronnie Abrams of the Southern District of New York granted a motion to dismiss putative class action claims under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”) and Rule 10b-5, against a global logistics and shipping company (the “Company”) and certain of its executives.  In re FedEx Securities Litigation, No. 19-cv-05990 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 4, 2021).  Plaintiffs alleged defendants made materially false and misleading statements concerning the financial impacts to the Company resulting from a cyberattack affecting a recently acquired European shipping subsidiary (the “Subsidiary”).  The Court granted defendants’ motion to dismiss plaintiffs’ consolidated class action complaint (the “CAC”) with prejudice.
  • Ninth Circuit Affirms Dismissal Of A Putative Securities Class Action Against An Electric Carmaker Related To Production Delays
     
    02/03/2021

    On January 26, 2021, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a putative securities class action against an electric car manufacturer (the “Company”) and certain of its officers for violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5.
     
  • Eastern District Of New York Grants Motion To Dismiss Exchange Act Claims Against Life Insurance Company In Connection With Its Retirement And Income Solution Program
     
    01/20/2021

    On January 7, 2021, Judge Sterling Johnson, Jr. of the Eastern District of New York granted a motion to dismiss, with prejudice, in a putative securities class action asserting claims under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”), and SEC Regulation S-K, Item 303, against a life insurance company (the “Company”) and certain of its executives.  Parchmann v. Metlife, et al., No. 18-cv-00780-SJ-RLM (E.D.N.Y. Jan. 7, 2021).  Plaintiff alleged that defendants made materially misleading statements regarding the Company’s financial condition and internal controls with respect to one of the Company’s Retirement and Income Solution (“RIS”) programs.  The Court granted defendants’ motion to dismiss with prejudice, holding, among other things, that plaintiffs failed to adequately plead falsity, loss causation, and scienter.
     
  • Northern District Of California Dismisses A Putative Securities Class Action Against A Biopharmaceutical Company Related To Its Flagship Cancer Drug In Development
     
    01/13/2021

    On December 30, 2020, Judge Haywood S. Gilliam of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California granted a motion to dismiss a putative class action against a biopharmaceutical company (the “Company”) and certain of its officers for violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5.  Malquin v. Nektar Therapeutics, No. 18-cv-06607 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 30, 2020).  Plaintiffs alleged that the Company made false and misleading statements and omissions about the efficacy of its flagship cancer drug in development.  The Court dismissed the amended complaint with prejudice, confirming that securities claims cannot be based on allegations that a company failed to use the best or preferred statistical methods for evaluating the effectiveness of a new drug and that short seller reports will not constitute corrective disclosures sufficient to allege loss causation unless the reports can be characterized plausibly as revealing new information to the market.
     
  • Northern District Of California Grants Motion To Dismiss Securities Fraud Claims Against Social Media Company, Finding Plaintiffs Failed To Plead Material Misstatements And Scienter
     
    12/15/2020

    On December 10, 2020, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers of the Northern District of California granted a motion to dismiss a claim under Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”) and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, as well as Section 20(a) of the Exchange Act, against a social media platform (the “Company”) and certain of its executives.  In re Twitter Securities Litigation, No. 19-cv-07149 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 10, 2020).  Plaintiffs alleged that defendants made materially false and misleading statements concerning the Company’s advertising products and revenue predictions that caused the Company’s stock price to drop more than 20% when the Company made purportedly corrective disclosures.  The Court granted defendants’ motion to dismiss plaintiffs’ consolidated class action complaint (the “CCAC”), but granted plaintiffs leave to replead.
     
  • Northern District Of California Grants Motion To Dismiss Securities Fraud Claims Against Battery Recycling Company, Finding Plaintiffs Failed To Plead Material Misstatements Or Scienter
     
    11/24/2020

    On November 16, 2020, Judge Haywood S. Gilliam, Jr. of the Northern District of California granted a motion to dismiss a Section 10(b) claim under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”), as well as a Section 20(a) claim under the Exchange Act as it relates to the Section 10(b) claim, against a lead-acid battery recycler (the “Company”) and three of its senior officers.  In re Aqua Metals Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 17-cv-07142 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 16, 2020).  Plaintiffs alleged that defendants made materially false and misleading statements concerning the Company’s novel recycling technology and its commercialization process.  The Court granted defendants’ motion to dismiss, holding that plaintiffs failed to plead any actionable material misstatements or scienter.  Certain claims in the case addressed in connection with a prior motion to dismiss were not the subject of this decision and will survive.
     
  • Eastern District Of Virginia Denies Motions To Dismiss Exchange Act Claims Against Building Products Company In Connection With Its Pricing Strategy And Purported Anti-Competitive Conduct
     
    11/03/2020

    On October 26, 2020, Judge John A. Gibney, Jr. of the Eastern District of Virginia denied motions to dismiss a putative securities class action asserting claims under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”) against a building products company (the “Company”), certain of its executives, and an institutional majority shareholder of the Company.  Cambridge Retirement System v. Jeld-Wen Holding, Inc., et al., No. 3:20-cv-112 (E.D. Va. Oct. 26, 2020).  Plaintiffs alleged defendants made material misstatements and omissions concerning the Company’s pricing strategy, alleged anti-competitive conduct, and the impact of a finding of liability in a separate antitrust private suit.  The Court denied defendants’ motions to dismiss the amended complaint, holding that plaintiffs adequately pled material misrepresentations or omissions, falsity, scienter and loss causation.
     
  • District Of Massachusetts Grants Motion To Dismiss Securities Fraud Claims Against Cloud-Based Remote Software Services Company In Connection With Its Acquisition Of A Competitor, Finding Plaintiffs Failed To Plead Material Misstatements Or Scienter
     
    10/13/2020

    On October 7, 2020, Judge Allison Burroughs of the District of Massachusetts granted in full a motion to dismiss a putative securities class action asserting claims under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”) against a cloud-based remote software services company (the “Company”) and certain of its executives.  Wasson v. LogMeIn Inc., No. 18-cv-12330 (D. Mass. Oct. 7, 2020).  Plaintiffs alleged defendants made materially false and misleading statements concerning the Company’s integration of a newly acquired competitor.  The Court granted defendants’ motion to dismiss plaintiffs’ amended complaint, holding that plaintiffs failed to plead any actionable material misstatements or scienter, but granted plaintiffs leave to amend.
     
  • Ninth Circuit Reverses Dismissal Of Exchange Act Claims Against Bank And Its Executives, Holding Plaintiffs Adequately Alleged Loss Causation For Certain Claims
     
    10/13/2020

    On October 8, 2020, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed the dismissal of a putative securities class action asserting claims under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”), and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder, against a federally chartered savings bank and its holding company (collectively the “Bank”) and several of its executives, for alleged misstatements regarding the Bank’s underwriting standards, internal controls, and compliance program.  In re BofI Holding, Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 18-55415 (9th Cir. Oct. 8, 2020).  The district court granted defendants’ motion to dismiss the third amended complaint, holding that although plaintiffs adequately pled material misstatements and scienter, plaintiffs failed to sufficiently plead loss causation.  The Ninth Circuit (with Judge Paul J. Watford writing for the majority) vacated the dismissal, holding that plaintiffs sufficiently pled loss causation based on a whistleblower lawsuit filed by a former employee.  Judge Kenneth K. Lee concurred in part and dissented in part.
     
  • Northern District Of California Allows Certain Securities Fraud Claims To Proceed Against Cloud Services Company, Holding Plaintiffs Adequately Alleged Falsity And Scienter
     
    09/22/2020

    On September 11, 2020, Judge William H. Orrick of the Northern District of California denied a motion to dismiss a putative securities class action asserting claims under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”), and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder, against a software company (the “Company”) and two of its executive officers.  Scheller v. Nutanix Inc., No. 19-cv-01651 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 11, 2020).  This case was previously dismissed with leave to amend by Judge Orrick in March, and was covered in our newsletter.  Plaintiffs filed a Second Amended Complaint (“SAC”) in an attempt to cure the prior pleading defects.  The Court noted that the SAC “suffers from many of the same deficiencies as [the] prior complaint” and held that certain categories of allegations were insufficient, but the Court allowed certain claims to proceed.
     
  • Eastern District Of New York Grants Motion To Dismiss Securities Fraud Claims Against Steel Manufacturer Related To Purported Argentinian Bribery Scheme Uncovered In “Notebooks Case” Investigation
     
    09/22/2020

    On September 14, 2020, Judge Pamela K. Chen of the Eastern District of New York granted in full a motion to dismiss a putative securities class action asserting claims under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”) against a steel products manufacturer (the “Company”) and certain of its executives and former employees.  Ulbricht v. Ternium S.A. et al., No. 18-cv-06801-PKC (E.D.N.Y. Sept. 14, 2020).  Plaintiffs, investors of the Company’s American Depository Shares (“ADSs”), alleged that defendants made materially false and misleading statements and omissions in connection with the purchase of the Company’s subsidiary by the Venezuelan government by failing to disclose the alleged bribery scheme that helped facilitate the transaction.  The Court granted defendants’ motion to dismiss plaintiffs’ consolidated amended complaint, and—although “skeptical” of plaintiffs’ likelihood of success—the Court granted plaintiffs leave to amend.
     
  • Northern District Of California Dismisses With Prejudice Most Exchange Act Claims Against Medical Device Company, Holding Plaintiff Failed To Plead Falsity For Material Misrepresentations And Contemporaneity Requirement For Insider Trading Liability
     
    09/15/2020

    On September 9, 2020, Judge Lucy H. Koh of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California granted in part and denied in part a motion to dismiss a putative securities class action against a medical device company (the “Company”) and certain of its executive officers under Sections 10(b), 20(a), and 20A of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”) and Rule 10b-5.  SEC Investment Mgmt. AB, et al. v. Align Technology, Inc., et al., No. 18-cv-06720-LHK (N.D. Cal. Sept. 9, 2020).  Plaintiff alleged that the Company made false or misleading statements regarding its strategies to curb competition in the market.  Plaintiff also asserted an insider trading claim against the Company’s CEO.  The Court largely granted defendants’ motion to dismiss, holding that plaintiff failed to adequately plead falsity for all but one alleged misrepresentation and, for the insider trading claim, that the trading activities of plaintiff and the CEO were not “contemporaneous.”
     
  • Southern District Of New York Grants In Part And Denies In Part Motion To Dismiss A Putative Securities Fraud Class Action Against An Insurance Company In Connection With Delisting Of Preferred Stock
     
    08/25/2020

    On August 14, 2020, United States District Judge Katherine Polk Failla of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York granted in part and denied in part a motion to dismiss a putative securities fraud class action asserting violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”) and Rule 10b-5 against an insurance company (the “Company”) as well as certain of its officers, who were members of the family that founded the Company and were long-time controlling stockholders.  Martinek v. Amtrust Fin. Serv., Inc., No. 19 Civ. 8030 (KPF), 2020 WL 4735189 (S.D.N.Y. August 14, 2020).  Plaintiff alleged that the Company made false or misleading statements and omissions about whether the Company’s preferred stock would continue to trade on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) following a proposed buyout of the common stock by the controlling stockholders.  The Court largely denied defendants’ motion to dismiss, holding that plaintiff had adequately alleged scienter and the falsity of two categories of alleged misstatements. 
     
  • Northern District Of California Dismisses Putative Class Action Against Large IT Services Provider
     
    08/04/2020

    On July 27, 2020, United States District Judge Beth Labson Freeman of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed, with leave to amend, a putative class action asserting violations of Sections 11 and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933 (the “Securities Act”) against a large IT services provider (the “Company”), certain of its officers, and its largest shareholder.  Costanzo v. DXC Tech. Co., No. 19-cv-05794-BLF, 2020 WL 4284838 (N.D. Cal. July 27, 2020).  Plaintiffs alleged that the Company’s prospectus and registration statement (the “Registration Statement”), issued in connection with the merger that created the Company, mislead investors about the true scale of, and the risks associated with, the Company’s plan to reduce its workforce costs.  The Court granted defendants’ motion to dismiss because plaintiffs failed to allege that the statements in the Company’s Registration Statement were false and because the alleged misstatements were protected by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act’s (“PSLRA”) safe harbor.
     
    CATEGORIES : FalsityPSLRASecurities Act
  • District Of Massachusetts Dismisses Putative Class Action Against Biopharmaceutical Company For Failure To Allege Falsity
     
    08/04/2020

    On July 24, 2020, United States District Judge Allison D. Burroughs of the District of Massachusetts dismissed a putative securities class action against a biopharmaceutical company (the “Company”) and certain of its executives under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5.  Hackel v. Aveo Pharmaceuticals Inc. et al., No. 1:19-cv-10783, 2020 WL 4274542 (D. Mass. July 24, 2020).  Plaintiffs alleged that defendants misrepresented the status of clinical trials of a cancer drug required for approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”).  The Court granted defendants’ motion to dismiss because the statements at issue were forward-looking and because plaintiffs failed to allege falsity.
     
  • Second Circuit Affirms In Part Dismissal Of Securities Claims Against Cancer Drug Developer, Holding Certain Alleged Misstatements Inactionable As Corporate Puffery, But Allows Claims Concerning Other Alleged Misstatements To Proceed
     
    07/21/2020

    On July 13, 2020, the Second Circuit affirmed in part and vacated in part the dismissal of Exchange Act claims against a pharmaceutical company (the “Company”) and certain individual defendants in connection with alleged misstatements regarding the efficacy of its pancreatic cancer drug, the design of the Company’s clinical trial, and the scientific literature concerning pancreatic cancer.  Nguyen v. NewLink, No. 19-642 (2d Cir. July 13, 2020).  The Second Circuit held that while some alleged misstatements were inactionable puffery, others were statements of opinion as to which, under the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Omnicare, plaintiffs adequately pled falsity.  The Second Circuit also held that plaintiff sufficiently pled loss causation.
     
  • District of Massachusetts Dismisses Purported Class Action Against Online Home Goods Retailer
     
    07/14/2020

    On July 8, 2020, United States District Judge Douglas P. Woodlock of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts dismissed a putative securities fraud class action asserting violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”) and Rule 10b-5 against a large online home goods retailer (the “Company”) and its three most senior executives (collectively, “Defendants”).  In re Wayfair, Inc. Sec. Litig., Civ. No. 19-10062-DPW (D. Mass. July 8, 2020).  Plaintiffs alleged that defendants falsely implied that the Company was profitable and that it was experiencing positive advertising-revenue leverage—meaning that the Company was becoming more effective at generating revenue for every advertising dollar spent.  The Court granted defendants’ motion to dismiss because plaintiffs failed to adequately allege any material misstatements or omissions, scienter, or loss causation.  Notably, the Court repeatedly called attention to the absence of factual support for the allegations and described the complaint as “precisely the kind of pleading the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act was designed to prevent.”
     
  • Southern District Of New York Grants In Part And Denies In Part Motion To Dismiss A Securities Class Action Alleging A Biotech Company Mislead Shareholders About Likelihood Of FDA Approval For Drug Intended To Treat Rare Disease
     
    06/23/2020

    On June 16, 2020, Judge Gregory H. Woods of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York granted in part and denied in part a motion to dismiss a putative securities fraud class action asserting violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 against a biotech company (the “Company”) as well as certain of its officers (collectively, “Defendants”).  Skiadas v. Acer Therapeutics Inc. et al., Civ. No. 1:19-cv-6137, 2020 WL 3268495 (S.D.N.Y. June 16, 2020).  Plaintiffs alleged that Defendants falsely stated that the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) agreed that it would approve the Company’s New Drug Application for EDSIVO, a drug for the treatment of Vascular Ehlers-Danolos Syndrome (“vEDS”), a rare genetic connective tissue disorder.  The Court denied Defendants’ motion to dismiss as to most of the alleged misstatements, because plaintiffs adequately alleged falsity and scienter.
     
  • Northern District Of California Dismisses Purported Class Action Against Peer-To-Peer Lending Company For Failure To Adequately Allege Falsity And Scienter
     
    06/23/2020

    On June 12, 2020, Judge Beth Labson Freeman of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed a purported securities class action against a peer-to-peer lending company (the “Company”) and certain of its officers under Sections 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5.  Veal v. LendingClub Corporation, et. al., No. 5:18-cv-02599 (N.D. Cal. June 12, 2020).  Plaintiffs alleged that defendants made misstatements and omissions regarding an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) into the Company’s allegedly deceptive conduct related to certain consumer practices.  The Court dismissed plaintiffs’ claims (mostly without prejudice), because plaintiffs failed to adequately allege falsity or scienter.
     
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